photo Tara Benwell Listen to News with Tara Benwell - Instructions:
1. Preview the vocabulary and read the gapfill text.
2. Play the news report and try to fill in the blanks.
3. Answer the comprehension questions by writing full sentences.
4. Use the discussion question to write an essay or discuss the story with other students.
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dateline: 27 January 2016

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Scientists Bringing Zebra Cousin Back From Extinction

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

  • extinction: the complete loss of a species
  • selective: related to the choice of the best or most suitable
  • breeding: the reproduction of animals
  • reserve: a protected or set area of land used for a particular purpose
  • adaptation: a change or modification
  • ecological: related to one’s surroundings

Scientists Bringing Zebra Cousin Back From Extinction

A group of scientists just outside Cape Town, are trying to bring a zebra species back from extinction through selective breeding. By studying samples, scientists recently confirmed that the quagga, which went extinct in the late 1800s, was a sub-species of the plains zebra. Compared to the plains zebra, the quagga had stripes on the lower half of its body. It also had a dark brown background. Through five generations of selective breeding, a handful of plains zebras now look similar to the extinct sub-species. The most quagga-like of these zebras will be placed on a separate reserve for breeding. Critics of the project say that the scientists have merely changed the look of the animal, and have not taken into account any behavioural differences or ecological adaptations. The animals in this study have been named Rau Quagga, after Reinhold Rau, one of the .

Comprehension Questions

  1. What did the quagga look like?
  2. Where is this project taking place?
  3. Why are the critics not impressed by this project?

Discussion Questions: How do you feel about this selective breeding project? Do you think that scientists will actually be able to bring back extinct species in the future?

show Answers

Written and recorded by Tara Benwell for EnglishClub
Tara Benwell is a Canadian freelance writer and editor who specializes in materials and articles for the ELT industry.
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